The news about Mark Foley is over a week old now. And unless you’ve been up on Mars wandering around with the rover, you know that Foley was the Congressman from Florida who recently resigned after news broke that he had been sexually harrassing 16-year old boys. It’s a fact of life that sexual predators have always been with us. Sadly, Foley’s particular case, while pathetic, isn’t exactly shocking. But what is shocking, and the reason this story has caught on and refuses to die, is the allegation that the House leadership knew about Foley’s behavior and looked the other way. According to Foley’s chief of staff, senior GOP members of Congress knew about Foley since at least 2003 after an episode when Foley got drunk and paid a visit to the House page dormitory after hours. (See TPM’s excellent chronology of events.)
Like many other infidels who have watched the religious right hypocrisy over the years, I waited to hear what James Dobson would say. After all, he is the point man for family values among evangelicals. (As an aside let’s be absolutely clear about one point: “family values” is a code word for a creepy sort of male white superiority — a hearkening back to a so-called golden age when white suburban nuclear families ruled the world, minorities knew to keep their place, and non-traditional gays, atheists, artists, musicians, poets, philosophers and liberals tred lightly at the margins of society.) I wasn’t the only one waiting for Dobson to say something. Paul Krugman of the New York Times wrote:
“It will be interesting, by the way, to see how Dr. Dobson, who declared of Bill Clinton that ‘no man has ever done more to debase the presidency,’ responds to the Foley scandal. Does the failure of Republican leaders to do anything about a sexual predator in their midst outrage him as much as a Democratic president’s consensual affair?” [link]
An honest question. After several days of silence the Great Man finally responded to Krugman’s question:
“In fact, it does outrage me, Mr. Krugman,” Dobson said. “We condemn the Foley affair categorically. And we also believe that what Mr. Clinton did was one of the most embarrassing and wicked things ever done by a president in power.” [link]
Dobson goes on to say that news of Foley’s indiscretions were “released by liberals” just before Congress went into recess. Never mind that there is absolutely no evidence for it. The creepy amoral thing about it is Dobson’s attempt to smooth over growing evidence that Foley’s colleagues covered for a pedophile. Notice how Dobson ignores Krugman’s main point and instead focuses on his condemnation of Foley’s behavior. Dobson was foaming at the mouth to call Clinton “wicked” for having an affair — something that probably millions of married men and women do every year. But he is surprisingly calm and cool when several Congressmen look the other way and permit several years of sexual harrassment of teenage boys.
The rest of Dobson’s public press releases have focused on a strange conspiracy involving liberals and the media who are trying to prevent “values voters” from voting for Dobson’s party of choice. Elsewhere he suggested strangely that those darned boys were making the whole thing up. Once again Dobson proves that he is little more than a political animal, a shameless charlatan who cares more about power and influence than the poor and helpess. What would Jesus do?
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